6.8/10
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30 user 10 critic

American Heart (1992)

R | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 7 May 1993 (USA)
An ex-convict is tracked down by his estranged teenage son, and the pair try to build a relationship and life together in Seattle.

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Writers:

(story), (story) | 2 more credits »
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From $1.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Boylan ... Janitor
... Jack Kelson
... Nick Kelson
Greg Sevigny ... Young Jack
... Monique
Willie Williams ... The Gospel Fireballs
Roosevelt Franklin ... The Gospel Fireballs
... Normandy
... Rainey
... Landlady
Wren Walker ... Lisa
... School Administrator
... Charlotte
Charlotte London ... Flo
... Vernon the Bartender
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Storyline

After leaving jail, Jack Kelson wants to live a normal life. He rents a small flat, moves in with his son Nick and tries to get a steady job. But then a former friend steps into his life again. Written by Markus Lasermann <mslaserm@trick.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Jack Kelson is going straight. And his son's breaking the law to help him. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexual situations | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 May 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Heart - Die zweite Chance  »

Filming Locations:


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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,549, 9 May 1993, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$384,048
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(some footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack's parole officer who's name is Normandy, tells him "15 will get him 20". This is an actual quote uttered by Lulu in "Streetwise", the documentary this film is based on. See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the movie, the ferry is leaving Seattle (towards Bainbridge Island or Bremerton). However a few seconds later we see the boat wake with the Olympic Mountains in the distance indicating the boat is headed towards Seattle, not away from it. See more »

Quotes

Jack Kelson: [Jack is coughing because of the smoke from the hot dogs on the grill] Oh!
Charlotte: Am I the only one in here who can't breathe?
Jack Kelson: Alright Nick, we're getting fixicated in here. Open that window.
Nick Kelson: Oh.
Jack Kelson: Here.
[Jack hands one of them a hot dog on a bun]
Nick Kelson: Is there any Ketchup?
Charlotte: Oh. Uh- ooh.
[Charlotte gets out of the car to get the Ketchup]
Jack Kelson: [to Nick] You were staring at her like a Goddamn yard bull. That's one fine lady, what do you got to say for yourself?
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Big City Dick: Richard Peterson's First Movie (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Backstabbers
Composed by John Lee Hooker, Al Smith
Performed by John Lee Hooker
Courtesy of Charisma-Pointblank Records
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User Reviews

 
Great Unknown Film
29 July 2001 | by See all my reviews

I first heard about this movie when it was filming in Seattle, my home. Being a fan of Jeff Bridges, I had to see it when it was released. I now own it on video, and it is one of my favorites.

The Seattle locations are used well, but the basic story could happen anywhere. Ex-con Bridges tries to build a life for himself and his estranged son after his release from prison. There are subplots dealing with a pen-pal romance and Jack's ex-partner, but the focus is on the father-son relationship. What makes the film fascinating is the texture and depth of Bridges' performance. Jack is not too smart, a drunk, and flat broke. He is thrown into a harsh, uncompromising world at the very bottom rung, and somehow must find a way to survive AND stay straight. As he gradually takes responsibility for his son, Nick, he regains his self-esteem and humanity. Bridges shows us all this with humor, honesty, and zero sentimentality. He never shies away from exposing Jack's flaws, but also imbues him with a raw sort of nobility. Flashback sequences drawing a parallel between young Jack and Nick add a layer of poignancy.

There is level of verisimilitude and frankness in "American Heart" that contemporary, mainstream American movies rarely exhibit. In form it greatly resembles Dustin Hoffman's remarkable "Straight Time", but this film is about relationships, not crime. If all you want from a movie is escapism, stay away. Those who like to wander near the Edge will be rewarded.

"you keep me straight, I'll keep you straight"


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